DENVER (AP) – Olivia Gant’s mother brought her to the emergency room when she was 2, saying the girl was having trouble eating. Kelly Turner, who had recently moved to Colorado from Texas with her three daughters, told the doctor she had problems nursing and other complications feeding Olivia since she was born.
Over several years, Turner would often tell doctors her daughter was sick. Olivia had surgeries, took medication for a condition she didn’t have and later died, a tragic end to what psychiatrists say was her mother’s apparent masterful scheme to dupe medical professionals.
Now, Turner has been charged with murder, raising questions about whether the hospital did enough to protect Olivia and underscoring how much doctors rely on parents’ word as they care for children.
At the first ER visit, a doctor thought the girl appeared to be growing normally. But the next year, a surgeon at the same hospital removed part of her small intestine and inserted a feeding tube.
By 2017, Turner was presenting her daughter as a dying girl with a host of diseases and a bucket list of wishes, seeking donations to help fulfill her dreams of catching a bad guy with police and being a firefighter. The Make-A-Wish-Foundation threw a “bat princess” costume party at a hotel that cost $11,000.
That year, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado found that the 7-year-old was only getting 30 percent of the nutrition she needed.
They couldn’t persuade Turner, described by one doctor as a “high maintenance mother,” to try anything besides artificial feeding. She insisted her daughter enter hospice care, where Olivia died in 2017.
Olivia’s cause of death originally was listed as intestinal failure, but an autopsy done later found no evidence of that condition. Authorities have not said what killed her, but the indictment revealed this week says that doctors went along with Turner’s push to stop feeding her daughter.